Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude 2013

Here's the part where I get all sappy...


One day we've devoted to remembering to be grateful for everything we have in our lives. I could dust off my soap-box, step up, and wag my finger at how we should be thankful every day for the awesome/terrible/wonderful/horrifying/awe-inspiring world we live in...


You've heard that said before from people who have said it better than I ever could. So I'm just going to itemize the *remarkable* things that I'm thankful for this year.

I'm thankful for my home.
                               Me when I met L
We (L and I) were going to move this year. The opportunity arose suddenly, and for a moment we were both beside ourselves with excitement. However that old matron, Prudence, won out. It wasn't fiscally responsible for us to make a long-distance move at the time, and fortunately another job opportunity presented itself to L, and he took it.
That job allowed us to move. Not to another state (someday Utah, Nevada...*whispers* Oregon), but to a real house. Not a tiny apartment, not a ramshackle building with four walls and a roof, but a lovely house that suits both of our very different tastes. A large garage for him, an extra room with a fireplace that was transformed into a lovely library for me...and a yard for the furry brute that lives with us who chews indiscriminately on his surroundings.
I'm thankful that we found this house together, that we make our coffee, watch our movies, wash the floors -- that we live here. I wake up every morning and go to bed every night beside someone who loves me. Together in these (almost) three years we have started a life together, and I am so so SO very grateful for that. It really is a dream come true.

I'm thankful for my day-job career change.
I've worked a number of different jobs, always writing in the background. Until recently, I often found that I didn't really write and I just worked meaningless jobs with the intention of writing. I didn't get serious until 2011.
I was in the Hospitality (read: hotel) business for a long while. The reasons why I spent the better part of this last year clawing my way out of that career path merit a post all their own, but here I'll suffice it to say that I finally did it.

                       This was how I went to work every day for years.

I have a job now where I get to hold and interact with dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies. I get to help people who want to help their animals. I have set, fantastic hours (perfect for my writing-mode time of day), and we can still afford to pay our bills. I work with knowledgeable people who have integrity and take pride in their work.
It is the first day-job I've had where I can truly say "I'd be happy doing this, and writing on the side for as long as it takes". It's nice not having the place you spend 40+ hours per week being just a means to an end, but time well spent. It's a new feeling, and for that I am very grateful.

I'm thankful for my Kim.
My best-friend Kim. A year ago today I was insane, prone to fits of glee and self-deprecating bouts of anxiety - I was new to the query trenches.
While L (my love) keeps me grounded he is not a man of words (I use enough for the both of us, I think). Also, he doesn't know how to handle my wild thoughts/emotions aside from just letting me speak my hopes/frustrations/fears/dreams/doubts into the room and following up with a "Well, we'll see..."
My best friend Kim is the Reason to my Madness.

                                       Pictured: Me talking to Kim
She is a sharp critic (wonderfully merciless, yet kind). Truly, had I listened to Kim's initial critiques of my first novel I wouldn't have queried too soon, and I wouldn't have needed to spend months fixing all the things she told me in the very beginning to fix. (Except the umbrellas! THE UMBRELLAS STAY, KIM! --- unless an agent or editor says otherwise)
We live seven hours apart. We see each other once a year. But she is my soul-sister. Without her I fear I would drive L insane. She means the world to me. I am/have been/will always be grateful for her.

I'm thankful for Twitter.
Oh lord that sounds so lame. However without Twitter I wouldn't have found my excellent Critique Partners Alex, and Phalia.
Ooops! Let's take a step backward: Without the Twitter contest PitMad, I would not have found Alex on Twitter. He's incredibly talented, and has a sharp eye. I could go on and on about how he has helped my first novel become what it is. Without one Critique Partner I wouldn't have gone looking for another, Phalia. She is tremendously supportive with heaps of ambition and talent as well.
Twitter also introduced me to the supportive writing community out there:
Melanie Conklin, Heidi Schulz, Alana Chapman, Richard Pearson, Julie Hutchings, Emma Trevayne, Chelsea Bobulski, Lela Gwenn, Brianna Shrum, Jean Giardina, Brooks Benjamin, Summer Heacock,  Megan Orsini, Lucas Hargis, Carey Torgesen, Vicki Weavil, Jessie Devine, J.M. Bankston, Hillary Monahan, Rhiann Wynn-Nolet...
                                             I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Basically look at the people I follow on Twitter - Every. Single. One is so disgustingly talented, funny, warm-hearted, and just....whenever I'm having a bad day or feeling cynical about the state of the world I can go to Twitter and be reminded that these people are out there creating and bringing their special brand of Phenomenal BAMF into existence. (Yes, I just used "BAMF" - 2008 was a good year.)
Let's not forget the publishing professionals on Twitter who dispense wisdom, advice, and good humor into the universe: Sarah LaPolla, Eric Ruben, Jessica Sinsheimer, Brooks Sherman, Amy Boggs, Peter Knapp, Bridget Smith, T.S. Ferguson, Jennifer Udden, Evan Gregory...the list goes on...They all regularly go out of their way to better the writing community, and educate the uninitiated. My writing has improved just by following their blogs, reading their feeds, and (in a couple of cases) taking their advice.
Twitter is a bar full of lively, interesting conversation, and it's a classroom --- a bar-classroom that I don't have to pay for, or put on clothes to visit. I'm very grateful for that.

I'm thankful for other people's patience.
Writing is full-time thing. At least that's how I treat it. I have a day-job that takes at least 40 hours of my week, I have the love of my life who I enjoy interacting with on a more than occasional basis, and I have writing.
Believe it or not I have other friends, too! Friends who live less than ten minutes away! I realized over a coffee date the other day that I've only seen my good friend, Anna, only six times this year. Six.
She lives seven minutes away - eight or nine if there's a traffic issue. She (and my other local friends) always invite me for coffee, or for movie night, or for drinks, etc...
I'm  writing.

                                       Me, just ask anyone.
And they're okay with that. We're all grown, and at this weird place in our mid-late twenties where real, post-college, adult life is kindof kicking our asses. But there are some friends who have drifted away due to my self-imposed solitude. That's okay too. I still love them. But I'm grateful for the ones who still invite me to do whatever even though there's a 98% chance I'll say No - because I know they get me. They're the ones who ask me "how's the story coming" and their eyes don't glaze over when I start to talk. They're my people, and I'm grateful for their patience.

I'm stopping here at five things. My magic number is 3, and I'm compelled to run to my alternate magic number (7), but I'll relent and be content that 5 is the number of Grace, Freedom, and Change - I can live with that. It's better than going all abstract and reaching for the Feels. People can always tell when you're reaching.
What are you thankful for?
Whatever or Whoever it is let me encourage you to tell them - everyone likes to know that they're appreciated/loved.

I have one chapter left on my NaNoWriMo novel! So I'm going to get back to that. It has gone from MG SciFi to YA SciFi - more on that next time though!

Until we meet again....